The Jaguars current regime, which consists of Executive Vice President Tom Coughlin, General Manager Dave Caldwell, and Head Coach Doug Marrone completed their first draft together this April. The Jaguars new brain trust elected to draft RB Leonard Fournette with the fourth overall pick. In doing so they passed on several potential stars at other positions - including QB.
Just days before the draft rumors began swirling that the Jaguars could perhaps be interested in selecting former Clemson QB Deshaun Watson with their first round draft pick. Had the Jaguars done so the Blake Bortles era would likely have come to an end in Jacksonville. Alas, the Jaguars drafting a QB in the first round didn't come to fruition and thus Blake Bortles will have at least one more opportunity to prove that he can be the Jaguars QB of the future.
Regardless of what team Watson ended up being selected by, his future was going to be monitored closely by Jaguars fans. He was the best player in college football over the past couple of seasons and capped off a superlative career with a win against one of the most stacked defenses in recent memory. Many fans would have been happy if the Jaguars wound up with Watson in the first round. The fact that the Jaguars passed on a potentially game changing QB in favor of a RB could come back to haunt the Jaguars down the road -- and Jaguars fans won't soon forget the decision.
Passing on Watson may or may not hurt the Jaguars long term. Watson could be just another great college QB that can't find a way to convert his success to the pro game -- on the other hand he could wind up being a true NFL game changer with his poise, strong arm, and elite athleticism. By the same token Leonard Fournette could struggle to adjust to the level of competition in the NFL or be the next rookie RB sensation. Both players' careers will be monitored closely by Jaguars fans and will no doubt be compared down the line.
All of this would have been true no matter where Watson ended up. But where Watson did end up made the comparison between the two players even more important.
Deshaun Watson was drafted by the Texans with the 12th overall pick in the draft.
The Houston Freaking Texans.
Now, Watson's future success will impact this Jaguars regime in more ways than one. Not only did they pass up on a potential franchise QB, but he fell to their arch rival the Houston Texans, who were believed by many to be a QB away from being a truly elite team.
The Jaguars will have to face Deshaun Watson twice a year for the foreseeable future. If he emerges as even an average to above average QB early in his career then not only will this new Jaguars regime have passed up on a solid QB, but they will have allowed their division rival to get a franchise QB of their own.
This situation will be monitored year in and year out by those who follow the AFC South and the Jaguars and Texans respectively.
We may get our first chance to see Fournette v Watson in the first week of the 2017 regular season as the Jaguars open on the road against the Texans. Watson is currently slated as the backup QB to Tom Savage, but he's already been impressing those in Houston. If Watson has a strong training camp and pre season he could very well be the Texans QB when the two teams face off on September 10th.
Watson and Fournette will never be lined up opposite each other on the football field, but their careers will help shape the future of the AFC South and that of their respective teams.
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